on October 13, 2003
For spectacle and beauty, it's hard to equal this chasm of color and falling water. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone allows restful viewing from the road along the rim, or challenging hiking to viewpoints far down the canyon wall. And the colors! Especially from the bottom of Uncle Tom's Trail watching rainbows in the spray from the lower falls. A ranger shared the geology of its formation: Filled with lava after the big eruption 600,000 years ago, the hard basalt was cooked in a boiling acid bath for eons -- the result of a huge magma pool under the area. The lava was bleached and softened while it was covered by glaciers. When the glaciers melted, the resulting floods washed a channel in the softened rock. The color in the long bleached rock comes from iron deposits.
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